Games


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What’s the use of a gaming-related blog without some sort of idea of the games themselves? Going back more years than I’d care to count, I played by first computer game on a modem teletype connection from my high school to the local community college. The Altair hadn’t even been invented yet, although Texas Instrument SR-10 and SR-50 calculators were popular with the geekier set. As I recall, it was an ASCII graphics Star Trek game that essentially required printing out each screen on the teletype in order to see what was happening (teletypes didn’t have screens). After a stint in the service, I recoded the game in BASIC to run on a TRS-80 Model 16 and made an unsuccessful attempt at rewriting it in COBOL on the same machine (don’t even ask about the compile time – it ran to hours for a few hundred lines of code).

College intervened and I didn’t get much gaming done. First, there was the time problem. Studying, writing and gaming are kind of mutually exclusive. Then there was the even bigger issue of my apartment being burglarized and not having the money to replace the machine for a few years. Eventually I did replace it with a 386-based Tandy machine and I was able to return to the games of the time, among the more notable of which were:

  • Microprose: Civilization, Colonization, Master of Orion, Master of Magic, Railroad Tycoon, Silent Service and the like
  • SSI (Strategic Simulations, Inc.): Almost every Gold and Silver Box game they released
  • Eye of the Beholder (all three)
  • Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape and the like

Along the way my 386 got upgraded to a 486, which got upgrade to a Pentium, which got upgraded to, well, you get the idea. Having a job helped out a lot in the hardware and software departments.

The 90s are kind of a blur as far as gaming goes, but the biggie of the lot was “Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall”, which led to Battlespire, Redguard and the rest for which I wrote the Beginner’s Guides and the rest, as they say, is history.

2 Responses to “Games”

  1. Member of Skaal says:

    Hei (hello),

    Don’t know if this where I should reply but I have to thank you for your Beginner’s Guide to Daggerfall. It’s been really helpful and answered all my questions. I played Oblivion when it was released then Morrowind and Skyrim. Just recently started playing Daggerfall. The older the game is the harder it’s and your guide is very helpful.

    Got to ask if you ever played Arena? And what are your thoughts about the Elder Scrolls Online. It includes every province of Tamriel, I think it’s bad.

    • marstinson says:

      Here is as good as anywhere. I’m glad you enjoyed the Guide. I’ve played Arena, but thought Daggerfall was more enjoyable. I’m not sure what to think about TES Online. I don’t much care for the basic concept, but MMOs seem to be what many players want and games are a business, so it was bound to happen sooner or later. My major concern, though, is the impact it’s going to have on later games. If it isn’t done well, Bethesda gets a black eye out of it. If it is done well, how many online features will be incorporated into regular TES games? I shudder to think of something like Mass Effect 3′s approach of making multiplayer part of the single-player game.

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